The Lambing Process

Under Construction.  :)

Notice the difference in Udder size and color as Frida gets closer to lambing?  The closer to having those lambs the pinker her bag and vulva become.  

Below are some ewes, just hours before or after they have lambed.  First you will notice how big some of the look...

Udders will be full....


And  then one day you see this and know you are going to have lambs very soon!


Even before this you may notice your ewe being a bit different, giving other signs she is getting close to her time.  For instance she may be off in a corner away from everyone else, she may not come up to the feeder when it is feeding time, or  she maybe searching the barn and pawing the straw to find the most comfy place in the area to have her lambs in.

Below are some of the very basic supplies I keep on hand for lambing...

Number one: Our Veterinarians phone number and an experienced shepherds number in the phone.  Just in case help is needed!

One of the things I go through the most during lambing season is...Clean Rags.  They are great for drying off lambs, grabbing a hold of slippery lamb feet that need to be pulled, wiping mucous out of lamb mouths and cleaning up after the job is all done.

Sorry no picture, but you know the kind they send you home with from the hospital to help suction out baby's nose.  You can also find them at most drug stores.  They come in very handy for breech lambs, or lambs that have had a difficult delivery and you need to clear their nose and air passage with.  I keep one in my pocket all during lambing season.  In fact, we had a ewe who had to have a c-section, we thought the lamb would be dead because she had been laboring, HARD, for several hours.  Once the vet was able to get the lamb out, he handed me the lamb and I rubbed on him a bit and he sputtered to life.  He was very full of mucous and the vet laugh out loud when I pulled my bulb syringe out of my pocket and went to town cleaning out his airway.  Later the  vet told me that was ingenious! 


To cut extra long umbilical cords.  Make sure not to cut them too short as it can cause the lamb to bleed excessively.  I use a dull pair of scissors that act like a crimper and crushes the cord.

 Iodine, 7 % to dip the navel in and help prevent joint ill and disinfect our scissors.

Frozen colostrum from a neighbor, the year before (try to replenish with fresh stuff asap).
Powdered colostrum will work in a pinch too.

20 ounce soda bottle with a lamb nipple:


We use ear tags to identify our lambs.  We will be lambing out close to 70 ewes and it gets to be a bit bit confusing telling who goes to whom!  We purchase our ear tags from Premier 1.  We usually use different colors for the ewe lambs and for the ram lambs, that way it is easier to tell them apart at just a glance.  

Don't forget the ear tag applicator!

Lube ~ Just in case I need to check a ewe and try to figure out what's going on or it works great to wash up with out in the pasture.

A wonderful helper!  This helps immensely, especially when you need an extra set of hands or brains!  

Scale and a reusable grocery bag:

For the first 4 years of lambing we used this scale with a lamb sling.  It worked pretty well, except that it would usually take us about 3 tries to get the lamb from falling out of the sling all the while mom is getting cranky!  Then one day a fellow shepherdess shared that she uses the reusable, cloth grocery bags to weigh her lambs.  Wow!  So much easier.  Just plop the baby in the bag, weigh and back with mama they go.


We like to keep notes of when a ewe lambs, problems or difficulties, notes about the labor, weight and other notes about the lamb(s).  In early March, April and May we can get some pretty bad weather in NW Montana so we need something tough to keep notes on.  We prefer the "Rite in the Rain" notebooks.  You literally can write in the rain and have it stay on the page and still have pages when you're done.  The pages are bit different to write on but once  you get use to them, they work great. 

"Rite in the Rain" notebooks can be purchased here.

~We also keep a lamb stomach feeding-tube and colostrum for weak lambs, electrolytes, Nutra-drench, and Penicillin.  Also because we are deficient in Selenium, we give 1 cc. of Bo-Se to all of our lambs right after birth, again at a month and two months old to help prevent White Muscle Disease.~

I also suggest a great pair of boots!  

I prefer Boggs boots, I have literally been soaked clean through but have had dry feet in my Boggs.  They keep my toes toasty in the winter and dry in the spring.

I also posses a pair of Carharrt bibs and several hooded, zipped sweat shirts.  I also have several warm down vests, winter hats and heavy duty pairs of gloves, down vests, and a Filson jacket; all to keep warm!

There are many more things that you might deem "necessary" for your lambing kit, but these are the things we always have on hand.

Below are some various slideshows/ videos, showing some of our ewes lambing...
Hope you enjoy...

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And Finally?  How do I know if my ewe is done lambing, besides  from checking her?

There will be a spaghetti-like cord coming out with the after-birth.     Almost always after seeing the "spaghetti-string" have our ewes been done lambing.  
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